First Nepalese Android developers’ Informal Meet

Posted By: Bhupal Sapkota On Monday, March 26, 2012


Feb 10th 2012
New Baneshwor

I’d say - informally formal gathering ;)

On the spot discussion topics:

Informal meet / get to know each others.
Experience sharing - Google’s first official visit to Nepal by Bhupal Sapkota
Android development scenario in country
Freelancing opportunities / experience sharing
Existing Local Apps in android market / personal projects experiences sharing
Identify possibility of organizing android workshops / events
Possibility of collaborating for Android course development for trainings/teaching.
Global Android dev camp Feb 17th - 19th / participation possibilities
Plans for future meet

Participation:

Nepal Android Community (Facebook group founder/admin)
http://www.facebook.com/groups/nepdroiders/
1) Sudarshan Pant, http://technoguff.com/

Semicolon Developers - Founder / CTO
Kathmandu GTUG - Founder / Community Manager (
http://ktmgtug.org/group)

2) Bhupal Sapkota, http://bhupalsapkota.com.np  (let’s connect over ln/twt/g+/fb etc etc)

SEO Expert
3) Ashish Rai

Bajra Technologies / Co-Founder
4) Nishant Karki

From Mobile Social Networking Nepal n/w
http://groups.google.com/group/mobile-social-networking-nepal
5) Prayag Upadhyay
6) Samrakchan Ghimire
7) Ritesh Bhattarai
8) Prashan Ojha

It was one of the most unplanned on the spot meet we participated in. Meet was highly Android development / workshop / future event focused.

We decided to conduct Android Workshops as our next event on our Jan meetup. This meet was a informal gathering for the preparation of the very same event.

Google’s First Official Visit to Nepal (Jan 17th – 19th 2012)

Posted By: Bhupal Sapkota On Saturday, March 24, 2012 Under: ,


Jan 10th 2012

We received a Happy New Year message at our mailing list, with surprising news inside: Google is visiting Nepal officially for the first time.

Dear Kathmandu GTUGers,

Happy new year!

Please let me introduce myself: I am responsible for "next wave" emerging countries at Google, i.e. countries that are currently at the stage of rapid Internet growth, of which Nepal is one.

Next week I will be coming to Nepal for the first time (well, not counting a vacation a few years ago), with the objective of learning more about the Nepali market, and seeing if/how Google can engage to improve the Internet for Nepali users. I am interested in meeting IT companies, telecom companies, developers/entrepreneurs, projects related to the Nepali language (content / fonts / keyboards / OCR / Machine Translation etc), government (relating to ICT) etc.

I would love to hear suggestions of who you think I should meet - and if you are in a position to help with introductions, that would be most appreciated.

Best regards,
Divon Lan, Product Manager, Next Wave Emerging Countries, Google

Divon can be reached at his social media profiles at Google+ or at LinkedIn.

Divon would land here at Monday 16th Jan. After struggling two days for visit schedules I sent him tentative schedules for the visits according to his official visit interest list on Jan 14th.

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With this short notice we had a very tough time communicating with all concerned bodies, telecom authorities and telecom providers, developers and entrepreneurs circle, local language experts working on machine translation, OCR, fonts etc and scheduling meeting with universities faculty and students. However visits planning got managed well. I would like to thank Hon. Manohar K. Bhattarai, Vice Chairman, HLCIT (former), active guys from Kathmandu GTUG, Mr. Subir Pradhananga – from FOSS Nepal Community whose support made it possible to schedule these visits on a very the short period of time.

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Divon meets Kathmandu GTUG

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We welcomed Divon to Nepal. On 17th evening we had a nice dinner with Divon. We got to meet Google representative and Hon. Manohar K. Bhattarai, Vice Chairman, HLCIT (Former) at the same dinner table which was one of the greatest moments of my life.

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Despite their office hours, our active GTUG guys Bhuwan Pokharel (who works at National Academy of Science of Technology), Sunoj Shreatha (who is president of Robotics Association of Nepal) and Niroj Sapkota (who is Sr. Software Engineer at Semicolon Developers) joined us in the evening meet.

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I with Sunoj’s support have tried to summarize discussions we had during this eve.

Google visiting Nepal now but not few years before, why ?

It is all about numbers, number of internet users. The actual numbers are confidential to Google but this visit clearly reflects Nepal has shown a rapid internet growth during last few years.

The purpose of Google visit to Nepal ?

In short grow Internet in Nepal further. Google is interested to learn more about the Nepali market, and seeing if/how Google can engage to improve the Internet for Nepali users. Clearly, Google has no short term business seeking here.

Scenario of Nepali IT sector

In countries with similar situations but different cultural observations Nepal is more easy to get along with. Most people understand English. Internet infrastructure has reached almost all districts of the country, even Everest Basecamp has a 3G Network.

Government is working on building a broadband line from East to West with and objective to connect to rural areas, aims to connect 45 districts to broadband n/w.
e-Governance project is also in focus.

Mr. Bhattarai explains, growing internet can be similar to understanding the growth of televisions in Nepal. People buy latest TV sets, buy channel packages of their interest. No one is marketing this behavior however, the change is completely consumer driven. “Yes !”, Divon says, “societies are now more content driven, consumer driven”. Active contents (text, real-time updates) / Passive Content (pictures, videos etc) in local languages is what drives more users to the internet. The present scenario is 50% of all internet content is in English. If we could increase activities fostering local contents in Nepali language, sure it will grow internet further.

Google’s Interest in Nepal

- Academics.
- Research Outfits.
- Google Nepal ? (not any soon)
- Nepali Languages in web ?

Possibilities of Google Nepal

Nepal is an emerging market, it has an emerging engineering expertise. Google Nepal is not Google’s target for near future. But, with GTUGs and other organizations (from Telecom companies, language experts to developers/entrepreneurs community) Google will be actively involved in Nepal to minimize the expense in overall internet growth efforts.

Google Data Centers

Google Data Centers run with Green Energy Concepts. We suggested, since data centers are more preferred at cold locations – is there possibility of opening Google Data centers at Everest Base ?

Information Glut / Information overload

With increasing internet use online content is rapidly growing. Millions of people contribute to overall internet content daily. The questions arises about the authority of the content. This growth of content could be viewed from another perspective - every source is of importance, is a opinion. It is up to audience how to gaze, how to judge the content. Author gains level of accuracy and authority during the course of time.
A content published from known author would be more engaging than from a un-heard journalist. But, quality of content itself plays vital role in any case.

Possibilities with GTUGs

GTUGs in small team can organize local mapping contests in Google Maps.

GTUGs around the globe are focused on local community. GTUGs can engage in activities which would create a value to the community itself.

Google Nepali translation will begin if we have : 10M Parallel words for Nepali & English

Would politicians use internet ? It is a great way for engaging general users in online activities.

Sunoj suggested we should work on transforming ourselves from Google Technology Users to Google Technology Developers.


Google visits Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA), Nepal Telecom (NTC), Ncell

 

Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA)

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Nepal Telecommunications Authority is the telecommunications regulatory body of Nepal. It is an autonomous body established on Feb 1998 in accordance with Telecommunications Act, 1997 and Telecommunications Regulation, 1998. It's objective is to create a favorable and competitive environment for the development, expansion and operation of telecommunications services with the private sector participation in Nepal Read More

We met Ananda Raj Khanal, Director, NTA.

Nepal Telecom (NTC)

Nepal Telecom or Nepal Telecommunications Corporation (NT/NTC) is the leading and the largest government owned telecommunication company of Nepal. It is also known as Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited (NDCL). A former government monopoly, it was converted into a Public Limited Company on April 14, 2004. NT has sold around 10% of its share to local market and company's employees in 2008. Nepal Telecom was the only provider of basic telephony services in Nepal until United Telecom Limited started providing services in 2003. Read More

Ncell

Ncell Private Ltd. stands as a privately owned GSM mobile operator in Nepal and is the first company to operate private GSM services intelecommunications sector of Nepal with the brand name “MERO MOBILE” which was rebranded as Ncell in 12 March 2010. It broke the monopoly held by the state-owned telecommunications company, Nepal Telecom by building a new arena in cellular telephony services. The company is now owned in 80% by Swedish/Finnish TeliaSonera Holdings. Ncell now becomes the largest ISP in Nepal by the subscriber base of more than 1.9 million users. Read More

Google Visits - Internet Society of Nepal (ISOC Nepal)

Internet Society / ISOC

The Internet Society is the world's trusted independent source of leadership for Internet policy, technology standards, and future development. More than simply advancing technology, we work to ensure the Internet continues to grow and evolve as a platform for innovation, economic development, and social progress for people around the world.

ISOC - Continues to develop as an open platform that empowers people to share ideas and connect in new and innovative ways. ISOC -Serves the economic, social, and educational needs of individuals throughout the world – today and in the future

ISOC – Nepal Chapter

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Internet Society [ISOC] Nepal is a non-profit, non-partisan  organization registered under Organization Registration Act , 1976 on 11th November, 2009 at District Administration Office, Kathmandu, Nepal. Previously, ISOC Nepal was loose network and received status of National Chapter by the Internet Society [ISOC] in April 2007. Read More

We met Mr. Babu Ram Aryal, president ISOC – Nepal chapter who also happens to be cyber law expert & advocate. We talked about ISOC – Nepal activities and involvement.

ISOC Nepal is working on maximizing usage of Internet throughout the country.
On 28th-29th, Jan 2012,  ISOC Nepal organized a two days international conference themed Internet for Everyone.

Google Meets – Developers/Entrepreneurs from Nepal

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Looking for energy and entrepreneurial spirit in the country, we met Ujwal Thapa who leads the e4nepal community. On developers and open source enthusiast we had Mr. Subir Pradhananga, FOSS Nepal Community (http://fossnepal.org) Manager, who also works in OLE Nepal (http://www.olenepal.org/) and other leading open source developers from community.

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Two hours dinner with entrepreneurs and expert developers from community was very lively. This informal meet was focused around discussions on possibilities of creating businesses in Nepal and Nepalese developer community contributing to Nepali Language development - fonts, keyboards, OCR etc.

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During the meet Divon suggested this entrepreneurial and developers group should create a mailing list and participate actively in organizing future meets. At the end of the meet we decided to create a mailing list called Google Collaborators Nepal. As a developer or entrepreneur from Nepal and/or if you any questions to Google concerning developer/entrepreneurial matters join in the group – send request with who you are and why you’d want to join this group. The group is open to anyone willing to contribute there actively.

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More Photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/106192160615444687024/albums/5701558958696516913

Google Visits Nepalese Private Companies

We have approached to invite leading private web companies and key local websites representatives in the meet. Thanks Bishwas Dhakal,  CEO / F1 Soft, Bibhusan Bista CEO / Yipl, Dhurba Adhikari, CTO / JTPL, Sunil Rijal, CEO / SoftNep, Shamit Shrestha, CEO / BentRay, Richan Shrestha, CEO/ Nepways for joining us in the dinner. I was more of a Kathmdndu GTUG guy that day than representing my company Semicolon Developers. However, meeting with other leading private companies was a nice experience to me as well.

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We had discussions around following topics during the meet:

- Possibility of Google - Nepali private companies partnership.
- Google supporting Nepali Payment gateways.
- VAS services in the country.
- General web apps / focus on local apps.
- Cloud hosting in Google platform
- Google Apps.
- Android Market payment barriers
- Yearly Barcamp, Possibilities of having Google engineers at Barcamp.
- Mobile social networking initiative in Nepal.
- Possibilities of private company - Kathmandu GTUG collaboration for creating job opportunities in community.

As in meeting with developers/entrepreneurs we decided to carry out follow up conversation of Google – Nepalese Private Company matters in the same Google Collaborators Nepal mailing list. If you are a local company and have questions with Google send request with details about you to join in the group.

Meeting Language Experts of Nepal

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On concern about Language interest of Google Divon said Google’s language interest typically falls under two categories.

- Language of Commercial Importance (more numbers of people using it)
- Community Interest (Language with community value)

So we can assume Nepali language falls under language of community interest to Google. Since, Nepali is one of the national language in India too, there are possibilities of referencing the work done for development of Nepali language by Google in India now in Nepal too.

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Following were the anticipated participants in the meet:

- Rabi Karmacharya, Executive Director of OLE Nepal, MIT Graduate
- Amar Gurung, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (MPP)/Language Technology Kendra (LTK)
- Laxmi Prasad Khatiwada, Localization Activist (ex-MPP)
- Sagun Dhakhwa, Center for Computer and Development Studies/ex-MPP
- Sushil Shilpakar, ex-OTRC, worked on Nepali OCR
- Indiver Badal, Pioneer of Nepali Wikipedia
- Ganesh Paudel, Active member of Nepali Wikipedia
- Saroj Dhakal, Active member of Nepali Wikipedia
- Abhishek Singh, OLE Nepal, ex-KUOSC, FOSS Nepal
- Ganesh Ghimire, E-Pustakalaya Coordinator

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Without any formal agendas but Google’s interest in language experts from Nepal and our interest in Google’s community involvement we discussed over topics listed below.

- Nepali OCR
- Nepali Language development efforts
- Possibilities of Nepali / English parallel content generation.
- Possibilities of Google Translate supporting Nepali Language
- Possibilities of Government executing a policy for publishing any text book both in Nepali and English ?
- Freeing Google Translate API V2 / Nepali Language
- Coordinating with Phanchanga Nirnayak Samiti for updating Google Nepali Calendar every year on March / April.
- Localization Camp for Google main search site / and other projects

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It was very intellectual meet I've ever participated till date. Current effort in country for localization, Nepali language development is praise-worthy. Let’s hope language experts of Nepal and Google will collaborate actively and give us the most anticipated Google Nepali Translation. That’d mean the world’s internet content which is in English will be available on Nepali language from the very next day.

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At the end of meet we decided to create a mailing list and keep in touch with each others for such meets in future too. The mailing list is named Linguals and Technicals in Nepal. Request join with some details about how could language experts in Nepal help you and how would you contribute to the group. Also, if you are working on language development field and have queries to Google, Divon would happily forward message to concerned team in Google, he is in the mailing list.

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Since, this report took some time to come out there are already news coverage in popular blogs like Mysansar and Nagarik-News National Daily. You can visits these websites to know further details about this meet.

नेपाली अनुवादक बनाउँदै गुगल http://bit.ly/x68Wv4 (Nagariknews)
सीएनएन नेपालीमा, माइसंसार स्पेनिसमा « Mysansar http://bit.ly/zvvcEk

More Photos:
https://plus.google.com/photos/114560019355063240206/albums/5700379161894108417

Interaction with Tribhuvan University & Kathmandu University faculty, students.

With Divon, we visited Tribhuvan University, IOE / IOST and Kathmandu University, Computer Science & Engineering faculty and students. University interaction program deserves their own page. On the old fashioned way of organizing any Kathmandu GTUG events our guys put a a lot of effort in making these interaction program lively and happen in schedule. I’d like to thank all Kathmandu GTUG guys who made University interaction programs possible, who collaborated on after event reports.

For details on university visits please follow these links:

Google Visits - Kathmandu University http://bit.ly/zesbEt

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Google Interacts with faculty and students at Tribhuvan University http://bit.ly/xdZ6S2

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Divon with Kathmandu GTUG Guys

Finally, on Thursday 19th evening Divon sat with our GTUG team.
Divon shared his other emerging markets visit / GTUG meet experiences. Getting to know about Cambodia and Vietnam GTUG activities, tech community was a great opportunity for us.

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Divon’s observation in Nepali Technology sector : “the other 50%”

On meet with GTUG guys Divon shared his Nepal visit experience, his observations. He had no language barrier during Nepal stay. He says, “Everyone understands English here !” He asked one question to us – “Where are the other 50% in your GTUG ? “
I couldn’t get the question for a moment, but after having discussion on the topic I too was asking myself “where are the other 50% ?” Actually, Divon was questioning about ladies participation in GTUG. We have made a promise on that day that on any meet afterward we will try not to leave the other 50% participation behind in our community

My take on this would be, this question is not only for our GTUG, As a Nepalese guy observing/interested/working on the tech field since last twelve years I too find it interesting why “the other 50%” are countable in finger ? Why tech sector is not attracting female participation ? Not even universities here are able to bring in more female intake for IT education. What if “the other 50%” too were equally active in Information Technology sector in the country ? Who is responsible for such scenario ?

My observations out of Google’s first official Nepal visit


Google believes Nepal is an emerging country.

A search giant identifying Nepal as an emerging country with their quantitative analysis is a really inspiring thing for tech enthusiast in Nepal. By emerging countries according to Divon it means – countries where rapid internet growth is observed in last few years but the internet growth (number of internet users) reached a certain level and stabilize itself there as if that was the saturation curve of Internet growth in that country. Knowing that we have a measurable IT growth is a good thing.

Google believes development in Nepali Language would increase the Internet use in Nepal

Internet exists for content. Most Nepalese who are familiar with English language are already getting maximum from Internet. Those, who find English as a barrier in their daily lives – why would they use internet ? There is no content in Internet that’s can be understood by them.

Local content can increase internet use

Be it a photograph, a news footage, a TV channel putting it’s program regularly in Youtube, A Nepali politician having a engaging online presence, Nepalese media celebrities having a active internet presence, Nepali music in internet – they can contribute, they can attract more internet use. It’s up-to us to create local contents, teach those who find English as a barrier basic of computing and internet use, help them bridge the gap between the existing Nepali content available in internet and contribute to overall tech development.

Google wants to collaborate with local telecom/companies/communities

Be it as a business deal with telecom providers or follow up channel for companies working on Google products or resource sharing with communities of developers and enthusiasts who are working on language development – Google wants to contribute and encourage overall internet development in the country.

How could Google contribute - Nepal as one of the Emerging Market

How Google can contribute is by supporting on the expense minimization for Internet infrastructure development, expense minimization on language development efforts, by providing feedback on Government IT policies, by encouraging developers community to work smarter. By giving us each and every Google products in Nepali language.

Working at Google - possibilities for Nepalese Developers / Students

It is possible. Working at Google is not up-to Google, it’s up-to us and how smart we are in computer science theoretically/practically.

What we got (will get) / Google got out of this visit ?

- Google’s point of view on Nepalese tech sector.
- Knowledge about Google’s community reach worldwide.
- Knowledge of existing efforts being done in the country for ICT development.
- An initiative to bridge the gap between existing Nepalese tech communities. (universities IT, entrepreneurs, language experts, developers, private companies)
- Direct communication channel with Google.
- Possibly initial version of Google Nepali Translate in near future.
- Follow up channel to Google for Nepalese perspective of Internet.
- Google products supporting Nepali language gradually.

Closing thoughts

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As a community manager of Kathmandu GTUG, I’d like to thank Divon for allowing us to manage his official visit and for sharing his Google experience with us. Appreciation to GTUG guys and all who supported us to make Google’s first official visit a memorable experience.

#

Bhupal Sapkota
Community Manager
Kathmandu GTUG

Photo Credits:
Google's First Official Visit to Nepal - Kathmandu GTUG (17th-19th Jan, 2012)
Google Interacts with faculty and students at Tribhuvan University January 18, 2012
Google Visits - Kathmandu University Jan 19, 2012 
Ganesh Paudel –
Meeting With Google
Lively interaction with Divon from Google and Open source enthusiasts - Ujwal Thapa

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